Lakefair parade carries on tradition

As a tribute to an Olympia tradition, the theme for the 2014 Capital Lakefair Grand Parade was “Thanks for the Memories.”

Saturday’s parade lineup featured more than 100 entrants who marched or cruised for 1.2 miles along Capitol Way through downtown Olympia. People of all ages lined the street with chairs and blankets, eager to watch and wave.

This year’s grand marshal was former Secretary of State Sam Reed, who rode in a vintage Oldsmobile Cutlass behind the Olympia Highlanders Bagpipe Band and the 17th Field Artillery Brigade. After dancing in the street before the parade started, 2014 Lakefair Queen Madison Murphy waved from atop a float that carried the 2014 Royalty Court. A fleet of Chevrolet Corvettes followed with the 2013 Royalty Court.

The theme is a way for the Capitalarians — the group that organizes Lakefair — to thank the community as well as recruit the next generation of volunteers to carry on a community tradition.

“Today is perfect for a parade,” said Lakefair Executive Director Bob Barnes, noting the cool breeze Saturday afternoon before the parade began. “The crowds have been good.”

Many familiar parade participants came back. For the sixth year, the Church of Living Water entered its “monster bus,” a 1967 Ford school bus with oversize tires. The church also uses the bus for back-to-school programs to distribute supplies for people in need.

“We just want to show the community that we love them,” said Jeremy Sudderth, an event coordinator for the church.

Greg Drew of the nonprofit Thurston County Posse has participated in the Lakefair parade for 27 years. As the posse’s 10 horses clip-clopped down Capitol Way, Drew followed in an all-terrain vehicle because of a knee injury.

“This parade used to be full of horses,” he said, reflecting on past years. “But this is still a fine parade.”

Sunday is the last day for the 57th annual Capital Lakefair, which kicked off Wednesday. Lakefair will be open from noon-midnight Sunday at Capitol Lake Park in downtown Olympia. The grand finale fireworks display begins at 10 p.m. Admission to Lakefair is free.